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Friday 12 July 2013

On this day in 2001: Schmeichel makes Aston Villa switch

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall a Great Dane returning to English football

  • Schmeichel becomes the first goalkeeper to score a Barclays Premier League goal

  • Hard though he tried the great Dane never quite managed to add to his goal tally

  • Schmeichel adopts the famous starfish pose as Charlton Athletic's Jason Euell looms rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day 12 July 2001 - Peter Schmeichel makes Aston Villa move

Aston Villa added experience to their defence by signing former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel from Sporting Lisbon.

"I still think it is the best league in the world"
Peter Schmeichel

The 37-year-old Dane, who had retired from international football earlier in the year, agreed a one-year deal at Villa Park, with an option to extend it by a further season.

Schmeichel was signed on a free transfer after spending two seasons with the Portuguese club. He helped Sporting win the title in his first season and was recruited as a replacement for David James, who had been recently sold to West Ham United.

"This summer I had a few options to consider,” Schmeichel said. “Retiring, playing on or possibly doing a TV job – and I gave myself time to find out what I wanted to do. It took me two weeks to find out that I still wanted to play and the only place I could go and play was back in the Premiership.

"I still think it is the best league in the world. I will not say I regretted going to Portugal but at times I have missed the atmosphere, the good play and the physical part of the game. I came to the conclusion I could knock them back anywhere except the Premiership and now I'm looking forward to a big challenge with Aston Villa."

Villa manager John Gregory was also delighted with the acquisition of a player who could count five Barclays Premier League titles, three FA Cup successes, a UEFA Champions League winner’s medal and a UEFA European Championship triumph among his considerable career achievements.

"He has won a Championship medal at every club he has been at"
John Gregory

"Peter Schmeichel is a winner through and through and he is as hungry as ever to be successful,” Gregory said. "He has a fantastic reputation in the Premiership from his time with Manchester United and he is not going to want to have any stains on that reputation.

“He will come in as my No 1 goalkeeper for this season. I've already put pressure on him because he has won a Championship medal at every club he has been at."

Schmeichel made 29 top-flight appearances in his one season at Villa Park, helping the club finish eighth in the table and adding to his impressive list of accomplishments by becoming the first goalkeeper to score a goal in the Barclays Premier League, against Everton in a 3-2 defeat at Everton. The following season he moved to Manchester City for one last season before bringing down the curtain on his glittering career.

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Key Points

  • looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember when a 37-year-old Danish goalkeeper returned to the Premier League with Aston Villa